Introduction: The Changing Governance Role of African Parliaments
Interchangeably used, legislatures, parliaments or assemblies are mirrors of the nature of the state (democratic or authoritarian), party systems(one-party, multiparty, or dominant party), and political culture. They are representative institutions ideally established to represent citizens and reflect the range of citizens’ preferences as expressed in elections. Legislatures literally legislate and amend laws1 as well as sanction or amend major policies and policy shifts, and, as such, are caught between fulfilling a significant governance role while acting as part of the machinery of government. On the one hand, legislators hold the executive accountable to citizen representatives. On the other, they hold the power of the burse and assume an important (if not one of the most important) governance role as representatives of the majority political party or parties in parliament. This is particularly so because legislatures are mandated by constitution to maintain oversight in spheres where the executive’s private deeds or misdeeds may clash with public interests.
KeywordsPolitical Party Conflict Management Democratic Governance Constitutional Amendment Parliamentary System
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